Top Things to Know: Increasing Equity of Physical Activity Promotion for Optimal CV Health in Adults

Published: May 24, 2023

  1. Addressing low levels of physical activity among under-resourced groups provides a modifiable target with the potential to improve equity in cardiovascular health (CVH).
  2. It is important to strongly consider approaches in increasing physical activity to not only focusing on commonly identified barriers to physical activity – time, access, and knowledge limitations – but overcoming barriers specific to individual groups.
  3. Strategies to develop engaging physical activity programs include building interdisciplinary teams, using community-based participatory research, and developing multi-level interventions.
  4. For many under-resourced groups (e.g., those living in rural areas or living with a disability), there is a notable lack of research on successful physical activity programs that could be used to inform effective promotion strategies.
  5. Developing culturally appropriate study materials, identifying culturally tailored physical activity options and leaders, building social support, and developing materials for those with low literacy are essential when engaging under-resourced groups in physical activity programming.
  6. It is suggested that health care professionals regularly assess and promote physical activity in the healthcare setting with all individuals including under-resourced groups.
  7. Improving the understanding of wide-scale uptake of physical activity within and across under-resourced communities to support the long-term implementation of sufficient quality to yield CVH benefits is critically needed.
  8. Using a standardized framework in health disparities research could improve our ability to synthesize findings across studies, identify important gaps, and develop programs that utilize multi-faceted strategies for enhancing equity in CVH.
  9. An area of emphasis is dissemination and implementation research involving community engagement across all stages of the research process, i.e., long-term partnerships and follow-up periods and assessment of health outcomes.
  10. Long-term solutions to structural barriers will require upstream approaches to address access to care, expansion of coverage for preventative services, and continued development of community resources to support regular physical activity.


Jerome GJ, Boyer WR, Bustamante EE, Kariuki J, Lopez-Jimenez F, Paluch AE, Swift DL, Webber-Ritchey KJ, Barone Gibbs B; on behalf of the American Heart Association Physical Activity Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Clinical Cardiology; and Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease. Increasing equity of physical activity promotion for optimal cardiovascular health in adults: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association [published online ahead of print May 24, 2023]. Circulation. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000001148